How to Decide on the Right CDL Driving School near Jonesboro Arkansas
Congrats on your decision to become a truck driver and enroll in a truck driving school near Jonesboro AR. Maybe it has always been your goal to hit the open road while operating a huge tractor trailer. Or perhaps you have conducted some research and have discovered that a career as a truck driver offers good income and flexible job opportunities. No matter what your reason is, it’s imperative to get the proper training by choosing the right CDL school in your area. When assessing your options, there are certain factors that you’ll want to think about before making your ultimate choice. Location will certainly be important, especially if you need to commute from your Jonesboro home. The expense will also be of importance, but choosing a school based solely on price is not the ideal way to make sure you’ll get the proper education. Just remember, your objective is to learn the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pass the CDL exams and become a qualified truck driver. So keeping that goal in mind, just how do you decide on a truck driving school? That is what we are going to address in the remainder of this article. But first, we are going to discuss a little bit about which commercial driver’s license you will eventually need.
Which CDL Will You Require?
To drive commercial vehicles legally within the USA and Jonesboro AR, a driver needs to attain a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License). The three license classes that one can qualify for are Class A, Class B and Class C. Given that the subject of this article is how to select a truck driver school, we will address Class A and B licenses. What distinguishes each class of CDL is the type of vehicle that the driver can operate in addition to the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) or GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating). Following are short descriptions for the two classes.
Class A CDL. A Class A Commercial Drivers License is required to drive any vehicle that has a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., including a towed vehicle of greater than 10,000 lbs. A few of the vehicles that drivers may be able to operate with Class A licenses are:
- Interstate or Intrastate Tractor Trailers
- Trucks with Double or Triple Trailers
- Tanker Trucks
- Livestock Carriers
- Class B and Class C Vehicles
Class B CDL. A Class B Commercial Drivers License is needed to operate single vehicles having a GVWR of greater than 26,000 lbs., or a GCWR of greater than 26,000 lbs. including a towed vehicle weighing up to 10,000 lbs. Some of the vehicles that operators may be qualified to drive with Class B licenses are:
- Tractor Trailers
- Dump Trucks
- Cement Mixers
- Large Buses
- Class C Vehicles
Both Class A and Class B Commercial Drivers Licenses might also need endorsements to drive specific types of vehicles, including passenger or school buses. And a Class A licensee, with the appropriate required endorsements, can drive any vehicle that a Class B license holder is authorized to drive.
How to Evaluate a Truck Driver School
Once you have decided which Commercial Drivers License you would like to pursue, you can start the undertaking of assessing the Jonesboro AR truck driver schools that you are considering. As already discussed, cost and location will no doubt be your initial considerations. But it can’t be stressed enough that they should not be your sole considerations. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools or the experience of the instructors are equally or even more important. So following are several more points that you need to research while conducting your due diligence prior to choosing, and particularly paying for, your truck driving training.
Are the Schools Accredited or Certified ? Very few truck driver schools in the Jonesboro AR area are accredited due to the rigorous process and cost to the schools. On the other hand, certification is more prevalent and is offered by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). A school is not obligated to become certified, but there are several advantages. Potential students know that the training will be of the highest standard, and that they will get lots of driving time. As an example, PTDI requires 44 hours of actual driving time, not ride-alongs or simulations. So if a school’s program is certified (the program, not the school is certified), students know that the curriculum and training will comply with the very high benchmarks set by PTDI.
How Long in Business? One indicator to help evaluate the quality of a truck driver school is how long it has been in operation. A poorly rated or a fly by night school normally will not stay in business very long, so longevity is a plus. However, even the best of Jonesboro AR schools had to begin from their first day of training, so use it as one of multiple qualifiers. You can also ask what the school’s history is concerning successful licensing and employment of its graduating students. If a school won’t supply those stats, search elsewhere. The schools should additionally have associations with regional and national trucking firms. Having a large number of contacts not only confirms a quality reputation within the industry, but also boosts their job assistance program for students. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in touch with the Arkansas licensing authority to make sure that the CDL trucker schools you are reviewing are in compliance.
How Effective is the Training? At a minimum, the schools should be licensed in Arkansas and employ teachers that are experienced and trained. We will discuss more about the instructors in the following section. In addition, the student to instructor proportion should not be greater than 4 to 1. If it’s any greater, then students will not be receiving the personal attention they will need. This is especially true regarding the one-on-one instruction for behind the wheel training. And watch out for any school that claims it can train you to drive trucks in a relatively short time frame. Learning to be an operator and to drive a tractor trailer professionally takes time. The majority of Jonesboro AR schools offer training programs that range from 3 weeks to as long as two months, based on the license class or type of vehicle.
How Experienced are the Trainers? As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that the instructors are qualified to teach driving methods and experienced as both drivers and instructors. Although several states have minimum driving time requirements to be certified as a teacher, the more professional driving experience an instructor has the better. It’s also important that the instructors keep up to date with industry developments or any new laws or changes in regulations. Evaluating teachers might be a little more subjective than other standards, and perhaps the best approach is to visit the school and talk to the instructors in person. You can also speak with some of the students going through the training and ask if they are satisfied with the quality of instruction and the teacher’s qualification to train them.
Plenty of Driving Time? Most importantly, an excellent trucking school will furnish sufficient driving time to its students. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? Driving time is the real time spent behind the wheel operating a truck. Even though the use of simulators and ride-a-longs with other students are necessary training tools, they are no alternative for real driving. The more instruction that a student receives behind the wheel, the better driver she or he will become. And even though driving time differs among schools, a good standard is a minimum of 32 hours. If the school is PTDI certified, it will furnish no less than 44 hours of driving time. Contact the Jonesboro AR schools you are researching and ask how much driving time they provide.
Are they Independent or Captive ? It’s possible to receive free or discounted training from some truck driving schools if you make a commitment to be a driver for a specific carrier for a defined time period. This is what’s known as contract training, and the schools that offer it are called captives. So rather than having associations with many different trucking lines that they can place their graduates with, captives only work with one company. The tradeoff is receiving free or less expensive training by surrendering the freedom to initially work wherever you choose. Obviously contract training has the potential to limit your income opportunities when starting out. But for many it may be the ideal way to receive affordable training. Just make sure to ask if the Jonesboro AR schools you are looking at are independent or captive so that you can make an informed decision.
Provide Onsite CDL Testing? There are several states that will allow third party CDL testing onsite of trucking schools for its students. If onsite testing is permitted in Arkansas, ask if the schools you are looking at are DMV certified to provide it. One advantage is that it is more accommodating than battling with graduates from other schools for test times at Arkansas testing centers. It is moreover an indicator that the DMV believes the approved schools to be of a superior quality.
Are the Class Times Accessible? As earlier mentioned, CDL training is just one to two months in length. With such a short duration, it’s essential that the Jonesboro AR school you choose provides flexibility for both the scheduling of classes and the curriculum. As an example, if you’re having a hard time learning a certain driving maneuver, then the instructor should be willing to devote more time with you until you are proficient. And if you’re still employed while attending training, then the class scheduling must be flexible enough to fit in working hours or other responsibilities.
Is Job Placement Offered? As soon as you have acquired your commercial driver’s license after graduating from truck driving school, you will be eager to begin your new profession. Verify that the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. Ask what their job placement percentage is and what average salary their grads start at. Also, ask which local and national trucking firms their graduates are referred to for hiring. If a school has a poor job placement rate or not many Jonesboro AR employers hiring their grads, it might be a clue to search elsewhere.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Truck driver schools are much like colleges and other Jonesboro AR area vocational or trade schools when it comes to loans and other forms of financial assistance being available. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have a financial aid department, or at least someone who can help you navigate the options and forms that must be submitted.
Thinking of a Truck Drivier School near Jonesboro AR?
If you are considering enrolling in a CDL Training School in the Jonesboro Arkansas area, following is some interesting and perhaps useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Jonesboro is a city located on Crowley's Ridge in the northeastern corner of the U.S. State of Arkansas. Jonesboro is one of two county seats of Craighead County and the home of Arkansas State University. According to the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 71,551 and is the fifth-largest city in Arkansas.
Jonesboro is the cultural and economic center of northeastern Arkansas. It is the principal city of the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2010, the Jonesboro metropolitan area had a population of 121,026 and a population of 163,116 in the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area.
The Jonesboro area was first inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, historic tribes included the Osage, the Caddo, and the Quapaw. The name of the state of Arkansas comes from the Quapaw language. French and Spanish traders and trappers had relations with these groups.
School For CDL Jonesboro AR
Selecting the ideal truck driver school is a critical first step to beginning your new vocation as a long distance or local truck driver. The skills taught at school will be those that mold a new career behind the wheel. There are several options available and understanding them is critical if you are going to succeed as an operator. You originally came to our website because of your interest in School For CDL. But first and foremost, you must get the appropriate training in order to operate a large commercial vehicle in a safe and professional manner. If you are short on funds or financing, you might need to think about a captive school. You will pay a reduced or even no tuition in exchange for driving for their contracted carrier. Or you can enroll in an independent trucking school and have the option of driving for the trucking company of your choice, or one of several affiliated with the school. It’s your decision. But regardless of how you obtain your training, you will in the near future be joining a profession that helps our country move as a professional truck driver in Jonesboro AR.
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